Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Ria Grace Gozon and I always love seeing how I end up answering this common question, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show! I like to think I’m no average cookie. My parents are Gloria and Rey. I have two older brothers, Raymond and Rayneil and we have one older sister Raechel – who I like to think watches over us and throws the frequent dance party with Jesus in Heaven.
On a personal level, I’m a faith-driven, self-motivated and filled-with-a-zest-for-life woman with a heart that explodes for love of God, dogs (esp. my dog Rusty), home cooking, sharing meals with others, travelling the world, women empowerment, and the global K-Pop group of seven talented, wholesome, and all-around incredible and beautiful men BTS (and this is in no particular order of importance).
Professionally speaking, I am a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. I work at the Medical Group Clinic as a Medical Service Corps Officer and Flight Commander. In layman’s terms, I am a hospital administrator! I hold a Master’s of Business Administration in Healthcare Management. I also hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration/Management and Marketing with a concentration in Personal Selling and Business Management.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love travelling. I love seeing new places, trying new things, learning new languages (or at least trying to), and experiencing new cultures. In 2018 alone, I went to Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, D.C., Philadelphia, Canada, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Honduras, England, France, Italy, and Vatican City! This year, I’ve been to Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, and California! There’s nothing like exploring a new place, whether it’s an airplane ride away or a joy ride in the car a couple blocks from the same route you always take.
Trust me, there are days when I don’t… but I actually do enjoy working out! I like running, Crossfit, kickboxing, circuit training/high intensity interval training, Zumba, and just going with the flow when I’m at the gym! For a change of pace, I also enjoy hiking, swimming, running stairs/bleachers/hills, and tennis! I ran my first half marathon last year, and I’m slowly considering signing up for a full…. But we’ll see. HAHA!
Some other things that come to mind include: getting alllll dressed up (look good, feel good!) even if it’s for no particular reason, being my friends’ Instagram husband, volunteering, playing ukulele, singing, dancing, and binge-watching shows/movies on Netflix/Hulu.
What are some current interests you have?
I love food. Everything about food. I love home cooking, meal prepping, experimenting with different ingredients/recipes, trying new restaurants/food trucks/hole-in-the-walls, and my new form of therapy (LOL): pinning new dishes/food ideas/videos on Pinterest! Recently, I’m really into Instant Pot Filipino recipes, perfecting my earl grey/lavender/honey latte with coconut milk, mango salsa and fresh avocados, dairy-free anything and everything, and cutting down meal prepping time for the whole week to an hour!
I’m super into home decor and channeling my inner Joanna Gaines right now. Now that I am in my own space as a young adult for the first time miles away from the home I grew up, I have definitely been more mindful of things that make my space feel like home, and feel like a reflection of me! I’m getting more into decluttering, minimalism, and having every piece in my home have purpose and spark joy (yas, Marie Kondo!). I just want to create a space that I feel welcome and safe to come home to everyday.
I love music. I grew up dancing since I was three, started singing shortly after, learned to play a variety of instruments (i.e. piano, clarinet, guitar, ukulele), and I just can’t imagine how different my life or my persona would be if music didn’t get to play such a big part in it all. I’m very into Broadway shows/musicals especially Hamilton (ugh, Lin Manuel Miranda is my hero), Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked and Waitress. I’m an avid, would-put-you-in-my-pocket-if-I-could fan of BTS, Chance the Rapper, Tori Kelly, Bruno Mars, Thirdstory and Pinoy OPM artists like Erik Santos and Regine Velasquez. I’m also a praise and worship singer so I’m into fellow Jesus lovers like Audrey Assad, Housefires, Hillsong and Steffany Gretzinger.
What are three fun facts about you?
- I am an Instagram photoshoot enthusiast. I don’t know how else to explain it, but if you need an Instagram boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, it’s me. Pick me, choose me, love me. There is something so positive, so uplifting, encouraging, empowering and freaking golden about taking photos of someone who’s just feelin’ themselves and all embracing all their glory. I am a bottomless appetizer of “yaaaaas” and “omg you’re so cute” because I am such an avid supporter of the idea of “look good, feel good” and I will never rob anyone of documenting, posting, and sharing a moment of pure joy, beauty and self love. We need more of that.
- I watched all three seasons of Queer Eye over a span of 2.5 days, because they deserve it. The show is so wholesome. I want to be best friends with the Fab Five. Jonathan Van Ness is my spirit animal and role model. Everything about Queer Eye speaks to what society needs more of: respect, love, and care of self so as to respect, love, and care for others.
- I ran my first half marathon at the Run Like a Diva Half Marathon in New York in 2 hours and 21 minutes, 45 minutes faster than my training pace, placing 6th in my age group, in $17 Wal-Mart shoes because I forgot to pack the ones I trained in, on 3 hours of sleep. (After seeing BTS live at Citi Field on a whim because my best friend had a ticket, even though I had no idea who they were or how they would change my life.)
What do you love most about yourself?
My resilient nature. It’s the only thing that gets me out of bed and keeps me on my toes. I have this fight in me, and I ain’t backing down. Not today. I firmly believe (and constantly try to remind myself) that everyone is fighting their own battles. I know we all have our own things to deal with, fight off, and overcome; but that doesn’t make me undermine my own battles. I think it’s so important to acknowledge and celebrate the punches I’ve landed, the holes I’ve climbed out of, the moments I became the heroine of my own story. I love my eagerness to get up, brush my shoulders off, wipe the sweat off my brow, and get back in the dang fight. It’s like I’m in a wrestling match: the little coach inside my head doesn’t sit there and make me feel bad about myself or my situation. Instead, she tells me “go and get ‘em, baby girl.” And I love that about myself because I wasn’t always like that. I truly think it took becoming a rape survivor, sharing my story, and seeing/receiving the grace, grit and glory that came and keeps coming because of it that to get here. I love myself more because of all of it.
I think this ties into my resiliency, so I think it’s worth mentioning that I also love my natural response to “laugh it off.” I respond to embarrassment, small mistakes, false judgment from others and unnecessary doubt/worry/conflict with laughter and man, I gotta tell you – it makes my life so much better. It helps me not sweat the little things! It gives me the freedom to be myself, to find the silver lining in everything, and to see the bigger picture of things! And most importantly, it’s given me the grace to mind those who matter and remember that those who matter don’t mind. I get to dance in the grocery store aisles, say what I feel, wear what I want, do the things that once scared me, and be whomever and whatever I want.
How would you define your lifestyle right now as a young adult?
I’m genuinely on both sides of the spectrum. I’m 10000% gungho about seizing the day, booking plane tickets and checking off big things on my bucket list, and I’m also 10000% prepared to stay in bed watching BTS videos, Disney films, or Grey’s Anatomy without moving. In my young adult years, I am very big on facing myself, speaking myself, and loving myself (BTS reference, ugh I love them). By facing myself, I am able to know and understand myself. By speaking myself, I develop meaningful and fruitful conversations with others, being a voice to and for others because of same meaningful and fruitful conversations I have with myself. By loving myself, I learn to not only accept but love all the pieces and quirks unique to my character, and identify the areas for improvement and the things about me that are distractions of the best version of myself. And how wonderful that I, as a young adult, get to exist in a time where society is thinking about self care, self acceptance, self confidence, and self love for both men and women. (Perhaps society is not doing so to the fullest extent and maybe not across the board yet, but we’ll get there.)
What’s your favorite dessert from Filipino Fusion Desserts?
Ube crinkle cookies. I literally dream about them. I miss them when they’re gone. I think of them when we are apart. I would do anything for them. I want to tell the world of my love for them. I think I’m in love with them. Okay, seriously. There is nothing like them… and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who has seen/eaten/baked/pinned on Pinterest/saved on Instagram SO many different, genius, trendy, wish-I-thought-of-them-myself foods. The flavor is spot on, the purple color is super cute and aesthetically pleasing, the texture is so unique, and you know how bakers/chefs always say that “it was made of love”? You can taste the love in these ube crinkle cookies. It’s all up in there. 100% money back guaranteed if you purchase them today and don’t agree within the first three bites (if you can even stop yourself from eating it in one go).